Saturday, May 03, 2008

TWICE SHY by Dick Francis

The Book: Dick Francis, TWICE SHY. Putnam, 1982 (third printing). Signed by the author on half-title page. Very good book in good dust jacket.
First read: 1983
Owned since: 1987 (best guess)

For Kentucky Derby day, a horse mystery. I was surprised to find that this is the only Dick Francis novel I own in hardcover; over the years, I bought a lot, but must have given most of them away.

This one was signed at an event at the late, lamented MysteryBooks, which used to be right above Dupont Circle on Connecticut Avenue. I didn't spend as much time in that store as I should have, although I remember standing in line for signatures from Dick Francis, PD James, and Patricia Cornwell (in the early years). The staff at MysteryBooks introduced me to Minette Walters's books and to the works of the Poisoned Pen Press, among others.

Dick Francis's novels all have something to do with horses, but each one also explores a new subject, and I always learned something from them. The main character in this one is a physicist, Jonathan Derry, who gets an apparently innocent cassette from someone who's then murdered. The cassette is a computer program that handicaps horses with uncanny precision -- such uncanny precision that people are willing to kill for it.

Maine has OTB parlors, but I probably won't bother to drive to Brunswick to lose my money. Instead, I'm spending the day at Hallowell City Hall, where we're starting construction on the set for Bye Bye Birdie. If you're in the area, come out and join us. You can borrow my hammer.

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